Cette page regroupe l'ensemble des publications de Futuribles sur cette thématique (Vigie, revue, bibliographie, études, etc.)
At the meeting of the European Council in Lisbon in March 2000, the European Union set itself the goal of becoming by 2010 "the most dynamic and competitive knowledge-based economy in the world". As readers of Futuribles have seen on several occasions, despite this intention, Europe is falling further and further behind the United States in terms of both economic growth and competitiveness and investment in so-called intangibles (research, education, human resources, etc.), although these are major factors in the knowledge-based economy.
Henri Delanghe, Vincent Duchêne and Ugur Muldur confirm the growing gap between Europe and the United States, adding as well the risk of being overtaken by the emerging economic powers (China, India, Taiwan...). Basing their argument on the theory of long cycles (Kondratiev), the authors reckon that the industrialized countries are about to enter on a fifth wave of sustained and lasting economic growth, thanks to innovations arising from new information and communications technologies.
If indeed it turns out that this hypothesis of a new wave of prosperity is correct (which remains to be seen), two questions arise: can Europe speed up the arrival of this new growth cycle? And is its internal organization ready to deal with this new period of growth, in other words, has it developed an appropriate strategy designed for this new situation?
After a reminder of the key factors required for a new cycle of long-term growth to occur, the authors emphasize in essence that, despite the efforts encouraged in the framework of the Lisbon process, Europe does not possess all the prerequisites to drive forward this new growth spurt. The main obstacles are its under-investment in research and development, its failure to make full use of its human capital and the relative lack of competitiveness of its high-tech products. A change of strategy will clearly be essential if Europe is to avoid lagging behind the other industrialized countries (if not finding itself as leader of the emerging group!).
Le protectionnisme et l'interventionnisme agricoles des pays du Nord sont souvent accusés de bloquer le développement du Sud. De ce point de vue, certains organismes, dont la Banque mondiale, considèrent qu'une libéralisation pourrait avoir un effet très bénéfique. Les simulations menées au CEPII conduisent à nuancer sensiblement ce point de vue. Les données qu'elles utilisent prennent en compte les préférences commerciales et les réformes récentes des politiques agricoles. Les simulations tiennent compte aussi du fait que les ...
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In 2002, per capita GDP (gross domestic product) in France and the European Union was roughly 25% below that of the United States. Per capita GDP is related to several factors: hourly productivity rates, average working hours and the employment rates. In France, hourly productivity rates are very high, but working hours and the employment rates are low.
This explanation does not hold when the facts are examined, argues Cette, since productivity in general appears to fall as working time increases, hence less is produced in the 36th hour than in the 35th, and this is even more true concerning the employment rates, especially those of young people and workers aged over 50 which are particularly low in Europe, especially in France. Gilbert Cette points up this argument with the help of a comparison between the "observed" and the "structural" hourly productivity rates, with the latter distinctly higher in the United States than in Europe and Japan.
He shows that, ultimately, the improvement in productivity in the United States and the decline in Europe is largely due to the growth and, above all, the spread of information and communications technologies. However, for this to have the greatest multiplier effect, there must be not only an appropriate level of investment but also greater flexibility in the markets for goods and labour.
This article implicitly raises an important question about the balance to be struck between productivity and numbers in work, which is a real issue for society to decide.
Michel Godet comments on two recent reports by the Council for Economic Analysis on productivity and employment, and on the gap between France, the rest of Europe and the United States in this regard. This leads him to offer a different explanation of the poor performance of France, which he thinks is due to the small numbers in work, the demographic decline and the excessive emphasis only on those jobs that are judged, rightly or wrongly, to be highly productive.
He stresses first the high demand for personal services, the large numbers of potential jobs in this area, and hence the need to reassess the worth of professions relating to it. He then goes on to offer a critical discussion of the analyses of productivity, emphasizing in essence that, although the hourly productivity rate in France is high, the economic results are in general poor, and this is because there are not enough people in work.
Lastly, he outlines various ways of reviving growth and employment, for instance by encouraging part-time working and replacing welfare payments that are made without any requirement to work with arrangements which would encourage more French people to stay in their jobs or return to employment.
Although the standard of living of Europeans gradually caught up with that of the Americans in the three decades after World War II, it would appear that the trend has dipped since the 1980s. Economic growth in Europe has stagnated, whereas growth has continued in the United States, despite events such as the bursting of the high-tech bubble, and September 11th. Is the decline of Europe compared with the United States unavoidable? What are the reasons for it?
Alain Villemeur describes the different paths taken by the two major Western blocs. He disentangles the reasons normally given to explain the poor results achieved in Europe (inflation, high interest rates, less flexible markets, industrial decline...) and challenges their validity in the light of the remarkable counter-example provided by the Netherlands.
In his view, the key to economic recovery in Europe lies in the investment countries are prepared to make in innovation and knowledge, and the way that innovations are achieved and implemented. What matters most now is to give priority to innovations in products (which means investing in research aimed at developing new products and services) rather than in processes (i.e. attempting to improve or copy innovations in existing products). It is a European country, Sweden, that provides the model for this approach.
For Alain Villemeur, the only means of reversing the economic decline of Europe over the last 20 years lies in combining strong support for research and development and innovation (on the Swedish model) with close control of wage costs (as in the Netherlands), and ensuring that this strategy applies also to the new members of the European Union.
Societies Facing an Ageing Population. The Challenge of Employment after 45
A year after France re-embarked on reforming pensions in order to cope with an ageing population and the large numbers of baby boomers who will retire in the next few years, it is a safe bet that nothing will be sorted out as regards the social implications of an ageing population. Indeed, as Anne-Marie Guillemard points out in this article, ageing affects every aspect of life in industrialized countries (ways of working, leisure time, life cycle, etc.), and to carry out a reform of pensions without including a section devoted to employment will not resolve the problem as a whole.
In this article, Anne-Marie Guillemard examines the key issue of employment and, in particular, how the work of older people is handled, comparing the situations in the main industrialized countries. After showing how the activity rates of workers over 45 years of age have changed over the last 30 years in these countries (basically the members of the European Union, the United States and Japan), which brings out clearly the differences in the way that work in the second half of professional life is managed, the author offers a typology of employment and social protection policies and cultural attitudes to age, and she discusses the impact of these institutional arrangements on the activity of older workers - activity which must be increased in an ageing society.
In France and, more generally, continental Europe there is a culture of early withdrawal of older workers from the labour market, which results in lower activity rates and yet does not resolve the problems of unemployment. These countries will need to undergo a real "cultural revolution" if they are to reverse this trend and adopt policies closer to those found in Scandinavia. The author reckons that in fact the Finnish "plan for employment for those over 45" could be taken as a model and would promote lifelong learning and training courses for those in work as well as encouraging older people to work. This would require an interventionist employment policy, drawn up with the agreement of all the social partners concerned, and would mean taking a long-term view of the life cycle with the aim of maintaining people's skills and employability throughout their working lives.
European countries have gradually stopped manufacturing less sophisticated goods (clothing, shoes, etc.), which are now produced instead in developing countries, especially in Asia. The latter have shot ahead: total manufacturing output in the Euro zone grew by 13% between 1991 and 2003, whereas it grew by between 50% and 450% in the developing economies of Asia and Central Europe. The countries of Western Europe are therefore seriously threatened by this growth - how are they reacting?
Patrick Artus examines four cases here: Germany, France, the United Kingdom and Spain. The first two specialize mainly in the manufacture of machinery, the other two in nothing in particular. After analysing the trade balance of each country and the structure of employment by sector, Artus argues that Germany has maintained a high level of productivity growth, by contrast with France and Spain, where productivity has declined, unlike the United Kingdom.
This reveals two contrasting approaches, Patrick Artus concludes: one favouring short-term growth (Spain) as against one where the specialization strategy allows improvements in productivity that lead to economic growth over the longer term (Germany, UK).
Cet exercice de prévision réalisé par le Bureau d'informations et de prévisions économiques (BIPE) pour la Direction de l'évaluation et de la prospective du ministère français de l'Éducation établit, selon différents scénarios macroéconomiques, des prévisions de besoins en recrutement de jeunes à l'horizon 2015, besoins ensuite déclinés par niveau de diplôme. Différentes hypothèses sont introduites, portant sur le rythme de croissance économique (1,5 % ou 2 % par an) ; sur l'importance de la mobilité promotionnelle des ...
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In this article, Philippe Delalande describes China's principal features as a world economic power and the ways in which it represents a real threat to the major industrialized countries, above all Europe and the United States.
In his view, the honeymoon period that has prevailed so far between these countries and China could end sooner than expected. China has enjoyed such rapid economic growth and has proved to be so steadfastly independent - for instance in the way it has managed its currency or satisfied the requirements negotiated when it joined the World Trade Organization - that it has been engaged in a number of power struggles with its partners and competitors. The outcome of these conflicts will not necessarily make everyone happy.
With economic growth running at around 8% per annum for over 20 years, China is often in the headlines of the Western media. The emergence of this demographic giant on the world economic stage and its greater involvement in geopolitics, after years of choosing to remain aloof, have raised considerable concerns - which are not absurd, given the size of this new competitor. Furthermore, increasing numbers of multinational firms (sometimes based in the United States or Europe) are choosing to relocate their manufacturing activities to China, where labour is cheap and little social protection is provided. China seems to be in the process of becoming the factory for the rest of the world.
Does this mean that its future is settled and China's place among the great industrialized nations is guaranteed? Will China stay on this steep growth path in spite of its authoritarian political regime? Are there not risks of major tensions developing? What are these risks and what might happen if they materialize?
Such questions are among those raised in this special number of Futuribles devoted to China. The articles have been assembled by the members of Asie 21, a study group focussed on the future of Asia that has been meeting for several years under the aegis of the Futuribles group.
In the first article, Michel Jan provides a general overview of the Chinese situation and its prospects between now and 2020 or 2025. He starts with the country's growth targets for the next 20 years, as well as the possible consequences, especially in the social and political spheres, if they are in fact achieved. He then discusses the various strategic choices faced by the Chinese leadership if the country is to maintain its position, in particular if it opens up to the outside world. Lastly, Michel Jan suggests several scenarios for its future, ranging from "more of the same" to some degree of democratisation, as well as the possibility of collapse; the most likely, in his view, is for the present situation to continue (i.e. the country tightly controlled by an authoritarian regime), punctuated by moments of "social respite" which will be essential to prevent everything from imploding but not enough to allow China to regain its dominant economic position for many years.
L'entrée dans l'Union européenne des 10 pays entrants, le 1er mai 2004, ne ferme pas le chantier de l'élargissement : l'adoption de l'euro sera la prochaine étape de l'intégration des nouveaux membres. Ceci leur impose de respecter les critères définis dans le traité de Maastricht, et en particulier de participer au SME (système monétaire européen) bis pendant au moins deux années. Cette exigence est une source importante d'incertitude, car la convergence économique ne s ...
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Experts in local development are obsessed by the apparent recent growth of competition among regions to attract productive activities. According to Laurent Davezies, they are focussing on the wrong aim: "what matters for the development of a given region is not to produce as much wealth as possible but to tap into as much consumer spending as possible".
The author argues that France is witnessing a growing divergence between the areas where things are produced as against those where they are consumed, as a result in particular of the amount of time spent not working and the places where we spend our leisure, which are quite separate from those where we work.
The areas where people go for their leisure time and as consumers (both being activities that incidentally stimulate local economies) are far more dynamic and attractive - in part thanks to the injection of public funds - than metropolitan areas (starting with the Paris region), where the quality of life is declining.
Laurent Davezies's conclusion is that the French are tending to move to regions that are more attractive for residential purposes, which means above all those focussing on consumption.
Ce rapport, au titre en forme de paradoxe, s'intéresse aux relations entre mondialisation et environnement, " deux termes qui recouvrent, à n'en pas douter, deux enjeux majeurs du siècle qui s'ouvre ", afin de montrer qu'il n'y a pas d'opposition irréductible entre eux. On évoque souvent le risque de dumping environnemental engendré par la libéralisation des échanges. Le rapport reconnaît un certain nombre de cas (les États-Unis ont délocalisé au Mexique leur production de solvants ou ...
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In 2003 Joseph E. Stiglitz, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001 for his work on the consequences of imperfect information in a competitive economic system, published The Roaring Nineties. A New History of the World's Most Prosperous Decade (New York: Norton & Co, pp. 256), another partisan view, this time of Western economic policies from the 1990s onwards. Basing his arguments on specific economic mechanisms, he attacks the free market approach, setting out to debunk some of the "myths" (as he calls them) underlying American capitalism: the invisible hand, the obsession with reducing deficits, the beneficial impact of wars, etc.
The economist Michel Drancourt offers a critical review of the French translation of the book (Quand le capitalisme perd la tête, Paris: Fayard, 2003, pp. 418), which shows that the disagreements between Keynesians and their opponents are far from over.
Le BLS observe l'évolution de l'emploi et des professions aux États-Unis depuis plus de 50 ans. Selon ses dernières projections, qui couvrent la période 2002-2012, l'emploi total devrait augmenter de près de 1,4 % par an en moyenne, soit 21,3 millions d'emplois supplémentaires, un rythme toutefois inférieur à celui de la décennie précédente (1,6 %). De plus, le nombre de postes à pourvoir pour répondre aux besoins de remplacement liés aux départs en retraite serait ...
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In the United States and in Europe, increasing numbers of business executives are on trial, accused of fraud or, more precisely, of having artificially inflated the value of their stocks and having thereby betrayed the trust of their partners.
Drawing from a study carried out by Futuribles, André-Yves Portnoff points out that one of the principal responsibilities of senior executives should be to maintain a balance between the interests of shareholders and those of the other groups concerned: customers, workforce, suppliers, etc. He stresses how much capitalism is likely to suffer as a result of these practices, which are motivated solely by the lure of short-term financial gain, and of a lack of a collective moral stance which would sustain values that are far more important for business performance in the medium and long term.
Sous l'effet combiné de l'allongement de la durée de la vie et du recul de la fécondité, nos sociétés vieillissent inexorablement. Cependant, paradoxalement, la structure par âge des entreprises françaises ne semble pas refléter les évolutions démographiques générales : elle se trouve plutôt être le résultat de décisions prises en matière de « gestion des âges », i.e. d'utilisation de l'âge comme critère de gestion de l'emploi, sous l'influence de facteurs économiques et sociologiques. Sur la ...
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Ce deuxième numéro de la revue Prospecti...va construyendo futuros présente les variables et les acteurs qui vont influencer le futur de l'Amérique latine à l'horizon 2025, à travers une série d'articles où s'exprime la complexité des réalités vécues par les différents pays. La publication commence par la description d'un futur idyllique pour l'Amérique latine. Il est question de justice, de lois sévères contre la corruption, d'intégration économique, d'indépendance par rapport aux ...
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L'édition 2004 des Perspectives de l'emploi de l'OCDE, qui passe en revue les tendances les plus récentes du marché du travail dans les pays membres de l'organisation, prévoit une certaine réduction des taux de chômage au cours des deux années à venir, grâce à la poursuite d'une croissance forte dans certains pays, en particulier aux États-Unis, et à une reprise de l'activité dans la plupart des autres - notamment au Japon et, dans une moindre ...
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Ce chapitre est extrait du Rapport Vigie 2016 de Futuribles International, qui propose un panorama structuré des connaissances et des incertitudes des experts que l'association a mobilisés pour explorer les évolutions des 15 à 35 prochaines années sur 11 thématiques.